To support an expansion of its bacon production capabilities, Tyson Foods has opened a new $355 million plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
The 400,000-square-foot plant is expected to produce two million pounds a week of Jimmy Dean and Wright Brand bacon retail products and bacon used in foodservice, areas that represent more than $1 billion in sales for Tyson. Located in Warren County’s Kentucky Transpark, the facility will create about 450 new jobs.
“Our innovative new plant in Bowling Green reflects a major investment that we are proud to make in south-central Kentucky,” said Donnie King, president and CEO, Tyson Foods.
“This enables us to focus on the health and safety of our team members while also delivering best-in-class service for our customers.”
Tyson is a bacon category leader in foodservice and at retail, with Jimmy Dean products representing the fastest-growing retail food brand over the past two years and Wright Brand products rising to the No. 1 consumer choice at retail in the stack category, according to Nielsen data.
“Bacon is a growing category based on consumer demand, both at home and at restaurants, and our expanded production will enable us to lead this growth and drive innovation,” said Melanie Boulden, group president of prepared foods and chief growth officer.
Tyson selected Bowling Green due, in part, to its proximity to raw materials in the pork supply chain and to inbound and outbound transportation lanes. It also enables end-to-end profitability by using pork bellies provided primarily by Tyson’s pork segment.
“The grand opening of Tyson Foods’ cutting-edge facility marks a significant leap in Kentucky’s economic development and job creation efforts,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “This plant embodies our vision for a flourishing Kentucky and symbolizes a new chapter of growth and prosperity in our state, thanks to Tyson Foods’ expansion.”
Advanced automation and facility design
The Bowling Green plant features high-tech robots that help eliminate ergonomically stressful tasks, such as transporting large pork bellies along multiple production lines and packing and stacking boxes. In addition, items move through production zones via driverless forklifts and autonomous guide vehicles.
The company also is offering employees technical training through a partnership with Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College that includes a robotics lab.
About Tyson Foods
Tyson Foods Inc. is one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein. Founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson and grown under four generations of family leadership, the company’s portfolio of products and brands includes Tyson, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, Wright, Aidells, ibp and State Fair. Headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, the company had about 139,000 employees.
Read more meat news from The Shelby Report.